South Korean Rocket Launch Delayed as Rhetoric Heats Up on Peninsula

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Glitch forces SKorea to abort rocket launch
The Associated Press

A technical glitch forced South Korea to abort liftoff of its first rocket into space Wednesday, delaying a launch that threatened to heat up tensions with rival North Korea even as they joined in mourning the death of an ex-president who pushed tirelessly for reconciliation.


Both Koreas are eager to develop their space programs, and had aimed to launch satellites into space this year. Pyongyang beat Seoul to it with the April liftoff of a three-stage rocket it claimed sent a communications satellite into orbit, although experts doubt it really succeeded.

Washington, Tokyo and others called it a disguised a test of its long-range missile technology since the same rocket can be used to fire off a missile. The U.N. Security Council condemned the launch, saying it was a violation of resolutions banning the North from ballistic missile-related activity.

The South’s planned launch could prove a setback to recent signs of easing tensions, marked by a meeting this month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Il with former President Bill Clinton, and the releases of two American journalists and a South Korean technician from the North’s custody. The North this week also agreed to resume some joint tourism and industry projects with the South.

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